Educated in England at Harrow and Sandhurst. He ascended the throne (1953) after his grandfather Abdullah had been killed (1951) by a Palestinian extremist and after his father was declared (1952) mentally unfit to serve as king. The target of more than a dozen assassination attempts, Hussein espouses a moderate pro-Western policy that has repeatedly brought him into conflict with leftist leaders in other Arab countries, as well as with Palestinian elements in his country. He has maintained his throne largely through the support of the British-trained Arab Legion and the fierce loyalty of the Bedouin tribesmen of E Jordan. Although Hussein was generally moderate in his stance toward Israel, he led Jordan into the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, as a result of which Israel occupied all Jordan W of the Jordan River. This loss intensified the conflict between Hussein and the Palestinian guerrilla movement, and finally civil war erupted (1970) between royal forces and the Palestinians. Hussein was victorious and was thus able to strengthen his rule over his kingdom. However, at the 1974 Arab summit meeting, he agreed to relinquish any claim to responsibility over the future of West Bank Jordan to the Palestine Liberation Organization.
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